District of Columbia

Washington D.C. Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Many Washington D.C. workers received pink slips in recent months as the city’s jobless rate soared to one of the highest levels in the country. In times like these, unemployment compensation offers a stopgap solution that can help you to feel more financially and emotionally secure.

The Washington D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) handles a variety of job-related services for district residents, including unemployment claims, worker training, education programs and job services. Your first stop for instructions about filing a claim for unemployment should be the DOES’s website at: www.does.dc.gov.

Not everyone who is jobless is eligible to claim compensation for unemployment. For example, you cannot receive benefits if you were discharged from your previous employer for misconduct or if you left your last job voluntarily without good cause. You also must continue to look for a job after you begin receiving benefits. The DOES website outlines these eligibility requirements and others.

If you are eligible to make an unemployment claim, you can visit the department’s internet site at www.dcnetworks.org to take the first steps. At the top of the page, you will find a link titled “Claim Unemployment Benefits.” When you follow this link, you will be directed to a page where you can file for benefits online after registering for a new account.

If filing an application by telephone is more convenient, you can contact unemployment agency workers at 202-724-7000 (local) or 877-319-7346 (toll-free) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone lines can be busy at peak times, so long waits are possible. By calling after hours or on Saturdays, you can reach an automated line and avoid the rush.

The unemployment agency will send a notice in the mail detailing the weekly and maximum benefits you can expect to receive. If you are found to be ineligible for unemployment benefits, you also will be notified of that denial within a week after filing your first application. You have the right to appeal any benefits denial by following instructions at the DOES website.

Once you’ve submitted your initial application, you are required to continue to file claims. Unemployment weekly claims can be made online at the DOES site or through the telephone calling center. You also will receive a claim form in the mail after your first application is filed which can be mailed to the address provided in the letter. By following the instructions and meeting deadlines, you can assure prompt payment of benefits.


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District of Columbia